The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in India has two certification schemes for manufacturers: the Indian Standards Institute Certification Scheme (after the office’s original name up until 1990: ISI) and the Compulsory Registration Scheme (CRS). As far as the ISI scheme is used for foreign manufacturers, it’s called Foreign Manufacturers Certification Scheme, FMCS. The two schemes cover different products.
BIS certification under ISI deals with a very wide range of products for both the industrial and consumer markets. The most important difference between the two schemes is that in the ISI scheme, among other things, there is also a factory inspection, which is why the costs for this are also much higher.
There are currently about 350 mandatory standards in the ISI/FMCS scheme of BIS certification, and this number is steadily increasing. They cover a wide range of products, from (major) household and industrial electronics to commodities such as steel and chemicals, automotive components such as wheels and lights, dairy products, work shoes, and mechanical machines like presses also require certification. Go to Find Your Product for information on all mandatory standards.
The certification process includes a factory inspection by Indian auditors, product testing, a payable marking of the products, and some documentation.
The most important facts about BIS certification according to ISI
- Application form
- English translation of the commercial register extract of the manufacturer
- Authorisation of representation to the AIR (Authorised Indian Representative)
- Flowchart of the production steps
- Quality manual (table of contents and headings translated into English)
- Existing ISO certificates
- List of raw materials used
- Test reports of the five most important raw materials (from the supplier)
- In-house test reports of the product to be certified
- Test reports of the product to be certified according to the IS standard
- List of machines used
- List of test equipment used
- Calibration reports of the test equipment used
- Drawing of the product to be certified
- Job description or curriculum vitae of the quality manager
- Details of the QM team
- Layout of the production site
- Directions from the nearest airport
- Authorisation of the plant manager to the certification officer
- Contract between factory and appointed AIR
- Some formal letters to the BIS
- All documents signed and stamped by the certification officer
What is the BIS certification for?
BIS certification is a mandatory product certification for more or less clearly defined product groups. For example, three-phase electric motors up to a certain power must be certified and marked accordingly in order to be imported into India. Without a corresponding certificate, the delivery would be rejected by Indian customs.
Every year, more product groups are added to the list of products that require certification, so it is never possible to say definitively whether a particular product is exempt. You can search for specific products and specific further information under Find Your Product.
New mandatory standards, however, almost always come into force on a later date after they have been announced. Most of them start on 1.4 or 1.10, so manufacturers usually have a transition period to apply for certification in time.
How does the BIS certification process work?
As described above, certification has 5 essential steps:
- Submit application documents
- Await audit date
- Carry out product testing either on site and/or in India
- Receive certification
- Put mark on already declared number of products.
Since the number of documents required is very large, the first step alone can take a lot of time. Unfortunately, the audit can also be very protracted due to the constant increase in the workload of the authority. The factories to be inspected are put on the waiting list with an application. Especially in the case of several plants to be certified at the same time, it therefore makes sense to submit the documents of all plants at the same time, because then all plants can be inspected in one audit tour. Otherwise, the inspection dates could fall on dates that are very far apart.
It is usually necessary in the context of BIS certification to have testing facilities on site at the factory. In many cases, witness tests are required during the audit, but it may still happen in addition that selected samples are to be sent to India.
After successful completion of the tests and issuance of the certificate, you will receive the information on how to mark. You will have already declared in the application documents how many pieces you plan to export to India per year, and this will determine the amount of the marking fees (there is, however, a minimum fee). If you import more than the declared number of pieces, BIS will suspend your certificate until the additional marking fees are paid.